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One thing that makes Pickleball unique is the concept of the No Volley Zone more commonly known as the Kitchen.
The Kitchen is an area that is 7 feet long and 20 feet wide (the length of the court plus lines). As the name would imply a player ca not hit the ball on the fly (i.e before it bounces) when standing in this zone (or even on the line). If the ball bounces the player is then free to hit the ball on the fly or not. This was designed to keep players from standing right at the net.
Without the Kitchen rules players and particularly tall players would be able to stand right at the net and hit the ball “straight down” and this would obviously detract from the game.
At the higher levels most of the action takes place at the Kitchen line. Players are looking to out- smart each other and dink such that the ball angles off and pulls the player(s) off the court. This then creates a hole and an opportunity for a winning short.
Also, at times you will see players hitting the ball very hard right “at” their opponent when they are at the Kitchen line. This calls for “good hands” also known as quick reflexes. In fact, at the higher levels this game calls for very fast reflexes in addition to all of the other elements of power, speed, finesse etc.
The Kitchen also players a role in the serve. The serve must clear the Kitchen line in addition to landing in the appropriate service box. If a serve hits the net and still clears the Kitchen it is considered a let and is served over. If the serve hits the net and fails to clear the Kitchen it is considered a fault and the serve is lost.
Final note: on the serve and the serve only, a ball hitting the Kitchen line is considered short and thus a fault.
As you can see sometimes you simply have to “Stay Out of the Kitchen!”